Burnout and fatigue

Most ‘burnout’ candidates are the last to admit this is actually happening to them.  The burnt out person has most likely developed alternative justifications for their symptoms, or they are actively denying them.  Many ‘burnt-out’ people I have seen professionally, have been ‘tapped on the shoulder’ by someone important to them, (boss, partner etc),  before they eventually end up in my office.  Alternately, things have deteriorated to a point where some extreme (or out of character) behaviour shows up.  This signals’something is seriously wrong’, and it’s then red-flagged at work or at home and the pressure is on’ for the person to get help.

Anyone can burn-out.  From new mothers to experienced educators. Sometimes burnout shows up as an incapacity to do one’s usual duties other times as a marked deterioration in relationships. Other indications of burnout is an incapacity to shake off tiredness even after some respite, or the inability to unwind when given the opportunity.  Often old (or not so old) ‘bad habits’ may re-appear, like cigarettes, nightly drinking, weekend bingeing or immature reactivity or critical commentary.  Someone close is most likely to notice a person’s burnout.

Obviously, it is someone close who first notices such changes in a burnout candidates behaviour.  It is important such a person (partner, employer, colleague, close friend) trusts their instincts and doesn’t let the ‘burntoutee’s’ denials go unchallenged.  Support, strategy and change need to interrupt the burnout cycle and often a ‘tough love’ approach is the only way to get someone to seek help or commit to self-help.  This maybe interpreted as  ‘interference’ and may be met with considerable resistance (resentment , even anger).  When one suffers burnout there is often a sense of ‘just hanging in there’ and feedback from a well-intentioned source can feel like an undermining of your best efforts to ‘keep it all going.’